A controller you'll want to Smash with.
In anticipation of the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on Switch, I’d been contemplating getting another Pro Controller. A couple months ago, I heard about the wired and wireless GameCube-style controllers for Switch being produced by PowerA, and after contacting the company I was sent one of these wireless controllers for review.
Inside the box is the controller, a small manual, and two AA batteries, which are used to power the controller. The PowerA website indicates that the controller will last up to 30 hours on the two batteries, depending on usage. I’ve used it for about 15 hours and the batteries are still going strong. Unfortunately, there is no battery life indicator in the Switch Controllers menu like there is for the Pro Controller and Joy-Con. It would be nice if the controller were rechargeable, but this is one of my few gripes about it.
The Wireless GameCube Style controller does an excellent job of emulating Nintendo’s own GameCube controllers, which were never wireless unless you had a Wavebird, and the PowerA controller is certainly lighter and less bulky than that. The L and R buttons replace the single Z button of the original GameCube controller. The PowerA version has Plus, Minus, Capture, and Home buttons, as well as an LED player indicator like the Pro Controller. I also noticed that the D-pad, C-stick, and left stick appear to be slightly larger than those of the original GameCube controller.
One aspect that really impresses me about this third-party controller is how easily it syncs up with the Switch console. Right after removing the controller from the box, I popped the batteries in, accessed the Switch’s Change Grip and Order menu, pressed the Sync button on top of the controller, and the PowerA controller synced immediately. Now, whenever I turn on the Switch and press any button on the PowerA controller, it connects to the console just as quickly as my Pro Controller does. I love my 8bitdo controllers, but they never worked as seamlessly as the PowerA GameCube controller.
While the buttons are extremely responsive and the controller feels great to hold, the primary buttons (ABXY) are a little louder and “clickier” than those of the original GameCube Controller and the Pro Controller. It’s not enough to be distracting but it is noticeable. As well, the PowerA controller does have motion controls; however, it is missing the HD Rumble and NFC reader for Amiibo.
Overall, the PowerA Wireless GameCube controller is a great option for a second controller or for those who have a strong affinity for the ergonomics and feel of the GameCube controller. It retails for $20 less than the Switch Pro Controller, and while it doesn’t quite replace it, it’s a worthy addition to your Switch accessory collection. I never developed quite the affinity to the GameCube controller when it debuted in 2001, but the more I use the PowerA version, especially for Smash Bros. Ultimate, the more attached I become. And to a wireless controller, no less.